After thumbing through the pages of the February issue of Golf Digest and finding nothing of value from Phil Mickelson’s latest bomb your driver tutorial, or Billy Horschel’s lesson on twisting and contorting your 20-year old body into the purest iron shots, I stumbled across the latest rankings for the World’s 100 greatest golf courses. Wow! With 32 of these residing in the U.K. or Ireland, that’s a mighty tempting target and I’ve decided to start planning the golf trip I’ve always dreamed about.
I’m reaching out to my readers for help on this one because while I’ve got significant experience traveling for golf in the United States, the British Isles is brand new to me. I haven’t traveled to the U.K. since 1983 and that was not for golf. In an earlier trip as a teenager, I actually had the pleasure (torture) of playing Carnoustie as a beginner. My sole recollection was shooting something over 130 and getting yelled at by some elderly ladies for playing too slow. In retrospect, seems like a waste, but the thought of a rematch is intriguing.
I will assume this trip of a lifetime will take careful planning and am thinking the summer of 2015 is a good target. I’ve just changed jobs and cannot dedicate that much time to travel this year, and would guess that to get on the greatest courses in the world you may need to book tee times over a year in advance.
So where to start. Key questions: Do I book this myself or through a tour operator? What is the ideal number of players for such a conquest? How about the ideal length of a trip? How much should I expect to spend? Do I keep it on the mainland or travel to Ireland? The Old Course at Saint Andrews is THE bucket item; is that a must have for any trip and if so, what are the constraints?
Any guidance you can provide is welcome, thanks!